The Graduate School of Social Service’s (GSS) Children and Families Institute for Research Support and Training (Children FIRST) program has received two contracts worth up to $1.3 million to provide training and other services to government and private agency social service caseworkers in the city and state of New York.

A $1 million contract with New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), which started on April 1, calls for Children FIRST to provide a series of ongoing training projects, including sexual abuse training, on-site consulting in the ACS office, and logistical support for the city’s OIC (Officer In Charge) training programs.

The second award consists of a subcontract with the State University of New York at Stony Brook for $256,248 to do “Sexual Abuse Dynamics and Intervention Training” workshops during the 2009 calendar year.

“Each year approximately six million children—eight percent of all children in the United States—are abused, neglected or mistreated,” said Jane Edwards, MSW, DSW, interim director of Children FIRST and assistant dean at the Westchester campus. “These children grow into adults who may face one or more debilitating circumstances.  Intervening responsibly in cases of child abuse and neglect is essential to our nation’s social health, and Fordham is grateful for service collaborators and financial partners to help prepare social workers to make a difference.”

Fordham’s Children FIRST program, headquartered at the Westchester campus, provides in-service training to help identify child abuse, neglect and maltreatment. Its programs specialize in training caseworkers in foster care, adoption and children protection, and child-centered workers in the fields of mental health, legal and law enforcement, medicine and education.

The program provides training, as required by New York state law, for “mandated reporters” of child abuse and neglect, both on-site at the Fordham campus and off-site at an organization’s request.

According to Ken Lau, LCSW, Children FIRST’s program director, the contract with Stony Brook is being used to train caseworkers in all areas of the state to work with victims, families and offenders in the area of child sex abuse. Lau, who has developed, written and piloted the project, will give 20 mandatory workshops to public agencies and private agencies contracted with the state.

In addition, Children FIRST has received a $100,000 anonymous donation to provide scholarships to advanced-year MSW students preparing to practice in Westchester County.

“Many of our students add the master’s program to an already full plate of full-time employment, family commitments and active community involvement,” said Edwards. “We are grateful to provide financial relief.”


Janet Sassi is editor/associate director of internal communications. She can be reached at (212) 636-7577 or [email protected]